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When it comes to sports in America, no league is as popular as the National Football League. America’s gridiron game is a way of life for many people around the country, and fans will do just about anything to watch their team or get their hands on the latest merchandise. That’s evident in the TV ratings, which the NFL dominates. It’s not surprising that cable companies hope the NFL will help them fight cord-cutting, but it’s still easy to watch the NFL online — and even for free over the air — without cable. Here, we’ll show you how to watch NFL games without cable.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream NFL games:

  Price Channels Free Trial  
$69.99 – $139.99 65+ None

See Offer

$5.99 – $85.96 68 – 88 7 or 30 days

See Offer

$64.99 – $33.00 220+ 7 days

See Offer

$35 – $50 30+ – 130+ 3 days

See Offer

$4.99 – $99.99 N/A 7 days

See Offer

What Channels Are NFL Games On?

To watch the NFL without cable, you’ll first need to know how to watch TV without cable. We’re going to show you how to access the channels that have the NFL coverage you crave, so we should first figure out which channels those are.

On Sundays, the day games air on CBS and FOX. “Sunday Night Football” airs on NBC, “Monday Night Football” belongs to ESPN, and “Thursday Night Football” airs on FOX or NFL Network, plus various websites, depending on the NFL’s latest content deal.

We primarily have four channels to worry about. Watching CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN without cable is the goal. We’ll also look at NFL Network, which sometimes has exclusive games. Getting all those channels will ensure you can catch NFL games every week of the season, including the playoffs and the Super Bowl. So how can we watch all these channels — and therefore NFL games — without cable?

How to Watch NFL Games Online and Over the Air Without Cable

Stream NFL games with DIRECTV Stream

Try It

DIRECTV Stream offers a lot of great channels, including many you need to watch the NFL without cable. You'll find CBS, FOX, and NBC in most markets, as well as ESPN.

Stream NFL games with Hulu

Free Trial

Hulu + Live TV offers live TV channels, and also includes access to on-demand content from Hulu’s long-standing subscription-video-on-demand service (SVOD). Hulu’s channel bundle includes CBS, FOX, and NBC (in select markets), as well as ESPN, so you’ll be ready to watch all the NFL you want without cable. Not sure if it’s right for you? Check out our Hulu + Live TV review to find out more.

Stream NFL games with fuboTV

Free Trial

fuboTV markets itself as a great skinny-bundle choice for sports fans, and it does a good job making NFL games available to cord-cutters. fuboTV offers CBS, FOX, and NBC in select markets, plus livestreams of ESPN and NFL Network.

Stream NFL games with Sling TV

Try It

A Sling TV subscription offers two base packages. You can choose one or both, and then add extras, which are themed mini-bundles of content. That makes it easy to build a cost-effective bundle that will net you ESPN and NFL Network. Unfortunately, as of this writing, Sling TV offers only limited access to FOX and NBC in select markets.

Stream NFL games with Paramount Plus

Try It

If you believe its ads, Paramount Plus wants to be known for its “mountain of entertainment.” One part of that mountain is live sports. Paramount Plus is a continuation of CBS All Access, albeit with a different name and some additional features you can read more about in our Paramount Plus review. One feature is the ability for some markets to get a livestream of the local CBS affiliate. If you live in such a market, then you can use Paramount Plus to watch the NFL without cable.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV offers CBS, FOX, and NBC in select markets, and it also has ESPN in its lone bundle option. YouTube TV lacks NFL Network, though, so you won’t be able to get some Thursday night games. You can read our YouTube TV review to find out more about what the service does and doesn’t offer.

Free Over-the-Air TV

Free over-the-air TV is one of the most powerful tools in any cord-cutter’s arsenal. With nothing more than the right antenna and a TV, you can pick up broadcast stations in your area. You know what stations are broadcast stations? CBS, FOX, and NBC, to name a few. An over-the-air (OTA) antenna will net you every Sunday game airing in your local market all season long, and it will allow you to watch NFL playoff games and the Super Bowl. That’s a pretty amazing dose of NFL games for free without cable!

You can even turn your OTA setup into a streaming one with an OTA DVR or PC TV tuner. With this strategy, you can do something even skinny bundles won’t let you do: legally stream NFL games online for free.

Peacock

NBC's streaming service will stream the NFL broadcasts that you'd find on NBC's TV network. That means that Peacock is the service to turn to for “Sunday Night Football” without cable, as well as your best bet for NBC's Thanksgiving Day broadcast and this year's Super Bowl. You'll need Peacock Premium ($4.99 per month) in order to access the NFL broadcasts on Peacock.

NFL Mobile

The NFL’s mobile app is essential this year, because the league is allowing mobile users to stream live local games for free. Previously a Verizon exclusive, this livestream is now for anyone with an iOS or Android smartphone, as long as they’re in their team’s market. Local and nationally televised games are both included. This solution is small-screen only, but it’s a huge leap for the NFL in the cord-cutting era. In addition to NFL Mobile, you can also use the Yahoo Sports app to stream these games.

Can I Watch NFL Games on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, or Chromecast?

When you watch the NFL without cable, you aren’t limited to just one TV. The beauty of cord-cutting solutions (besides all the money you save) is that they empower you to watch what you want when you want — and on almost any device you choose.

Can you watch NFL games on Roku? Can you watch NFL games on Fire TV? What about Apple TV? Yes, yes, and yes. The services and techniques listed above will play nice with your favorite streaming devices. Use the chart below to find out how.

Roku Fire TV Apple TV Android TV Chromecast iOS Android Web/
browser
DIRECTV Stream Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hulu + Live TV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
fuboTV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sling TV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Youtube TV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Paramount Plus is also available on all our recommended major streaming platforms, so you should have no trouble using it on your favorite streaming device.

More to Watch for NFL Fans

Don't miss a thing! From “Thursday Night Football” to “Monday Night Football” and everything in between, all of the NFL action is available to cord-cutters.

You should now have a pretty clear idea how to watch NFL games without cable. But if you’re reading this in, say, March or April, then you’ve got a long wait until next season starts. What can NFL fans watch in the off-season?

Plenty, as it turns out. Baseball is a great sport for warmer weather — although if you’re following a team in, say, Florida, it’s pretty much all warm weather. Check out our How to Watch MLB Without Cable guide to find out everything you need to know about streaming America’s pastime.

Maybe you prefer sporting events that come around only every four years (or every five years in the case of this year’s pandemic-delayed edition). The Olympics are a source of national pride for many countries, and that’s especially true in the U.S. Our guide to watching the Olympics without cable can help you out.

3 thoughts on “How to Watch NFL Games Without Cable

  1. Dennis says:

    This article was very good for those fans of a local area team. Is there any skinny bundle that will give you games outside your local area? I know DirecTV does, but it is way too expensive (NFL Sunday Ticket).

  2. T. says:

    The reason for cord cutting is to save money but over the past couple of years streaming services have raised their pricing to where the benefits of switching from cable to streaming is no longer a great deal.

  3. fazanhamrock says:

    I love to watch online in goood quality ,especially NFL , Go to ScreenVariety Tv if you want to watch it too

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